It's finally that time again: time to break out the pads and and hear them crack against one another on the gridiron. Frankly, it's like Christmas in August, knowing we won't have to go without football until the middle of February. It's sure to be a magical next few months filled with incredible games, mind boggling plays and MACtion.
Fall camp is the time for freshman or redshirt freshman and transfers to make a good impression on the coaching staff. We've seen a number of freshman play for the Cougs in the last few years (partially because the more senior guys ahead of them stank so much but we'll ignore that) with relative success. Jeff Tuel saw the field about a third of the way through his freshman year. Marquess Wilson was arguably the most talented receiver on the team as a freshman. Deone Bucannon was laying the wood from day one. This class is full of guys who could make an impact right away. Lets take a look at the five most likely to do it. You can also take a look at the two deep going into camp.
McLennan had allegedly received offers from Oregon, Arkansas and Miami (FL) and we still managed to nab him out of El Camino College. It's easy to see why he drew interest from so many other schools. Kyle was a big fan of him when he committed:
McLennan learned how to drop in coverage, and he's no longer a one-trick pony. Make no mistake, pass rushing is still his best skill, but he's become a more complete football player now. His video shows him getting beat in pass coverage but still tracking down the ball carrier and forcing a fumble. That's pretty great.. He has excellent speed, and my guess is he plays all over. He has the range and fundamentals to play inside, the pass rush ability to play BUCK, and the speed to play outside.
Mr. Anderson is also drooling over his potential.
Real aggressive to the flat, has the speed to get outside on bubble screens. Highly effective on the run blitz as well.
McLennan is listed at the top of the depth chart at BUCK with Kache Palacio.
Vince Mayle (6'3, 240, Sr.) Wide Receiver
Note: Mayle was supposed to have two years to play two but you can read why they're having issues with that here.
Mayle is big for a wide receiver. Like tight end big for a wide receiver. He had offers out of Sierra College from a number of other schools, most notably West Virginia, Arizona State and Kentucky. So how good is the big fella from California? From Kyle's eval:
He has a quick first step, but isn't necessarily a burner. He runs nice routes and he's not afraid of contact.
Brian's thoughts on him use the term 'dump truck':
His physicality alone will make press coverage very difficult. He'll dumptruck one DB a game, just wreck some corner he's got 50lbs on who doesn't get his pad level low enough.
Please let it happen in the Auburn game with a block breaking Caldwell free for an 8- yard touchdown run. He's listed third on the depth chart at both X and Z but he'll get some playing time to be sure.
Daquawn Brown (5'11, 170, Fr.) Cornerback
Brown got some interest from a number of other schools and WSU's stiffest competition for his commitment came from UW. Brown visited WSU when UCLA was in town which makes it a minor miracle he still came to Pullman. Here's Kyle's eval (with a rather hilarious tweet from Ruth at Real Dawg, LOL U MAD UW?) and what he's the biggest fan of?
What I really like is how he high points the ball. They teach you to do that as a WR, and a lot of guys play CB because their hands aren't good enough to play on offense. Brown has WR tendencies, and that's awesome. He's also a very stout tackler from the corner, which can't be said for a lot of guys.
Brown isn't on the pre-camp depth chart but could certainly work his way on there before the trip to Auburn.
Gerard Wicks (5'11, 202, Fr.) Running back
Wicks comes to Washington State out of Long Beach and on his initial evaluation, Kyle noted he thought he could add 10-15 pounds. At the time, Wicks was listed at 195 pounds so he's most of the way to adding that weight.
I like how he's being chased down and instead of just running out of bounds, he lowers his pads, initiates contact, and tries to get an extra yard or two. Wicks is really hard to bring down, and almost never goes down on first contact.
Brian, along with Kyle in his full eval, liked what they saw from his hands.
Gets upfield in a hurry, hits his cut and bursts. Good lateral cuts and excellent burst, gets to top speed in a hurry. Showed decent hands in limited pass play highlights.
Both expect for Wicks to push Caldwell right away and easily make his way onto the two-deep.
Robert Lewis (5'9, 155, Fr.) Wide receiver
Future Heisman Trophy winner Robert Lewis was one of the original four defectors from that spawned the now famous "LOL U MAD SMU?" After spending a year sitting out, Lewis is seemingly ready for the spotlight this season.
He pretty much fits exactly the Leach mold for wideout. Small, shifty, quick, yards after the catch, and a great return man to boot.
Like Kyle, Brian is a big fan of Lewis' ability to avoid tacklers.
Often you hear "cuts on a dime", rarely do you see it. Lewis cuts on a dime, extremely shifty, his change of direction ability makes him tough to tackle and incredibly difficult to hit square.
Lewis is listed behind Bobby Ratliff at the Y receiver position but is no where to be seen on either the punt or kick return charts as we thought he might be.
So those are the five newcomers we think will make an impact. Anyone else you think could contribute immediately?